It’s officially summer: the Riverside Park goats are back! They took a break last year, but on Wednesday, a large and enthusiastic crowd gathered for the second annual Running of The Goats, releasing the living lawnmowers into the park to do their job. And there’s something else new this year. In light of the city’s new use of ranked-choice voting, New Yorkers can rank their votes for the GOAT (greatest of all time) goat. Keep reading for the rest of this week’s non-animal related news.
Mr. Adams goes to Washington
New York City Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams has already declared himself the next mayor despite still technically needing to win the general election, and it seems that most have already accepted that, much to Republican nominee Curtis Sliwa’s chagrin. President Joe Biden invited Adams to the White House along with other local leaders to talk about gun violence and the rise in crime both in New York City and across the country. Current Mayor Bill de Blasio was not invited to the meeting. After that, Adams held a joint press conference with Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Brooklyn on the same topic, the pair’s first appearance together since Adams became the Democratic nominee. They heaped praise on each other and pledged to work together, with Cuomo saying they were both “progressive Democrats” who actually got things done. Their appearance together signals a potential shift away from the contentious relationship between Cuomo and de Blasio, although it’s far from certain how long this friendship will last.
Cuomo in the hot seat
The attorney general’s investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against the governor could be wrapping up. Cuomo was reportedly set to talk with investigators on Saturday. Outside attorneys hired to oversee the probe have spent the last few months interviewing the women who made the allegations and other witnesses and gathering evidence in preparation for releasing a report. The news came shortly after more bad press for Cuomo with regards to transparency with coronavirus data. The Associated Press reported that the state discloses 11,000 fewer deaths from COVID-19 than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, despite sharing higher numbers with the CDC. They use different criteria for counting deaths, and while some other states use similar criteria as New York, none have as large a discrepancy between state and federal numbers.
Rent relief still elusive
Many applauded the $2.4 billion rent relief program approved by the state Legislature as part of the budget in April to help struggling tenants during the pandemic, but months later, no one has gotten any payments. The state launched an online application portal on June 1, already a delay compared to the April approval. And while the agency overseeing the program said that it would take no more than six weeks to get the money out to landlords, six weeks have passed and none of the funds have been distributed. Officials said that it would take several more weeks to get the money out. This on top of website glitches that have made it difficult for some tenants and landlords to even apply.
COVID-19 numbers inching up
Across the state and New York City, rates of COVID-19 remain low, but have been slowly increasing over the past several weeks even as more people get vaccinated and the warm weather gets people outside. Although the most significant increases have taken place, in New York City at least, in areas with lower rates of vaccination, the spread of the delta variant has been a major cause for concern. This version of the coronavirus has grown more prevalent in New York recently, and new data shows that in the city, it now represents about two-thirds of all new COVID-19 infections.
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